Saturday, May 21, 2011

Will The World End On May 21st At 6pm?

If you haven't heard a man named Harold Camping has said that based on his biblical calculations the world is going to end on May 21st at 6pm.

He has purchased billboards around the country and has gotten a lot of media attention.

Because of this fact, I thought I should write a note to share with our church ( and my Facebook friends about this prediction, so here we go:

1. Do I believe the world is going to end at 6pm?

No. I won't go into details, but I've read his reasoning and I think he is misinterpreting and misapplying scripture. But...

2. Do I believe that ONE DAY the world will end?

Yes. If kingdoms can end (think Rome), then a whole world can come to an end. It’s only logical. This planet once didn’t exist. It had a beginning and that means that one day it will have an ending. That’s not a crazy idea.

In fact, I don’t think there are even any scientists who would argue that this world will one day end. Did you know?...

Scientists Created A "Doomsday Clock"

In 2007, scientists were worried about the threat of Global Warming and Nuclear War in what they called “second nuclear age." Because of this, in 2007, they moved the "Doomsday clock" forward two minutes, so it was set to 5 minutes to midnight.

(This clock was introduced in 1947 by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to determine the threat of a nuclear holocaust during the Cold War.)

One quote from Stephen Hawking hit me...“As citizens of the world, we have a duty to alert the public to the unnecessary risks that we live with every day, and to the perils we foresee if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change.”

(What you also might not know is that the hands of the "Doomsday Clock" was moved again in 2010. Why? Factors influencing the last Doomsday Clock change include international negotiations on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, expansion of civilian nuclear power, the possibilities of nuclear terrorism, and climate change.)

Think about this… Scientists, are wise enough to pay attention to the signs and we need to be wise too.

But does that mean it will happen on May 21st? No. It doesn't. I'll explain why with this story...

What Jesus Told The Disciples About Knowing When The End Would Come

It's an incident in Matthew 24:1-42 that happened towards the end of Jesus’ life and ministry. It’s an event that began with a simple walk, that Jesus and his disciples took, and it ended with them sitting on the mountainside riveted to Jesus’ every word, as he revealed to them about the end of Jerusalem.

It would be a day they would never forget.

They left the temple and were walking away from it when his disciples came up to Jesus to call his attention to its buildings. (They were caught up and impressed by it all.) They kept walking with Jesus, bragging about the temple, and Jesus shocked them with this statement in verse 2...

"Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." This had to be totally unimaginable to them.

The temple was the center of their society. But he not only told them that, he went on to tell them that Jerusalem would be destroyed and that the world would one day end.

(NOTE: Their temple and Jerusalem were both later destroyed, just as he said.)

They couldn't believe what they were hearing, so they asked him, "When will the temple be destroyed? What will the signs of the end of this world be?"

He told them about some of the signs and many other things, but the one main thing that applies to knowing whether the world will end on May 21st is found in verse 36.

Jesus told them, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. "

Did you catch that?

Who did Jesus say knows when the end would be?

  • Did he say the Mayans would? No.
  • Did he say Nostradamus would know? No!
  • Did he say Harold Camping would know?

Nope. What did he say? NO ONE will know the exact day or the hour, except God!

There WILL be signs for us to notice and pick up, so we can know that the end is near, but we’ll NEVER know an exact date/time.

We need to stop listening to the people who say they know when the world will end. As soon as they've say it, they prove they're wrong because NO ONE will know! (I think Harold Camping is sincere, but wrong.)

BUT we need to realize this… Jesus said the end will come subtly.

If people aren't looking or don’t know some of the signs, then Jesus says they will miss out on the signs and they’ll still be doing their thing: feasting, partying, and marrying. And once it’s finally time for the end, then it will come suddenly. It will come quickly.

So what can we do?

Jesus gives us the key piece of advice in verse 42 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. The only thing we can do is keep watch, so we won’t be caught totally off guard and surprise when the end comes.

The Bible does NOT say the world is going to end on May 21st at 6pm! That’s not true. But don’t get me wrong. It could end this year, or this month, or even today.

We don’t know EXACTLY when the end will come. We just know that it will come. Our job is just to pay attention and keep watch, so we can be ready.

We Could See Our OWN End Before THE End

If you don't believe the world is going to end for biblical reason (or even scientific reasons), then that's fine. But we all need to admit the one fact that we all try and pretend is not true: one day our lives will end.

And for most of us the end of our lives will come suddenly and not when we expect it. It will not be something we have time to do something about just before it happens.

We need to live our lives always remembering that they will one day end. It's one of the few guarantees in life.

I don't tell you this to be morbid. Knowing that the world will end, or that our lives will one day end, is a good thing for us – even if we don’t know the exact times. Why?

It can help us to be patient and it helps us to prioritize.

Not only that it helps us to appreciate what we have, appreciate the here and now, and helps us to plan ahead for when this is all over.

Lessons From Those Near The End

When you speak to someone who has lived a long life what do they tell you? They tell you how fast life goes. They tell you that good times and bad BOTH will come. They tell you to appreciate what you have because it will all be gone before you know it.

They don't tell you this to scare you. Right? It’s to help you! That’s what this knowledge is supposed to do for us. Knowing there will be an end and that we don’t know when exactly its coming should affect how we live for today and for the rest of 2011.

We need to watch and be alert.

We need to remember that all that seems so important and consuming in this life will one day be gone. As we set your goals for 2011, dream big dreams, accomplish big things, because one day this will be over.

Let’s love our family and friends more. Let’s stop worrying and stressing out over things that don’t really matter, because one day we won’t have this life or this world anymore.

Let’s invest in the things that last and will matter when this is all over: God’s kingdom and our relationship with God. These things will help us to do well in 2011 and helps us to be prepared for the end – whenever it comes!

One last idea...

Live Like The World Is Going To End At 6pm

Maybe being prepared for the world to end today at 6pm might not be such a bad idea. It might cause us to live today better, live it more fully, and live it focused on things that last and mean something in the end.

And when we're given another day to live on May 22nd, we can wake up thankful and ready to live another day like it was our last. And so on. And so on. Until the one day it really is our last.